The Chicago Fire will have their minds set on a place in the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Round on Thursday morning when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Group B finale at 8 a.m. CT.
Despite their Sunday night defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, head coach Raphael Wicky's men can secure a place in the Round of 16 with a win or a draw against the Whitecaps today.
With advancement in their grasp, here's how the Fire will start out at kickoff on ESPN:
- This morning's starting XI features three changes from the Fire's Sunday defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
- Young Designated Player Ignacio Aliseda gets his first start for the Club after making his debut as a second half substitution on Sunday night. The 20-year-old Argentine will lineup alongside Robert Berić in the attack, replacing CJ Sapong.
- Fabian Herbers returns to the starting lineup in midfield in the wake of Luka Stojanović suffering a knee injury in Sunday's match.
- Defender Jonathan Bornstein is back in the first XI this morning, spelling Miguel Angel Navarro in the Fire back line.
- Gastón Giménez and Álvaro Medrán round out the Fire's midfield trio, alongside Herbers. Each player will be receiving his third consecutive start in tournament play.
- Defenders Francisco Calvo, Mauricio Pineda, and Boris Sekulić will form the Fire's central defensive unit for the third straight match in front of goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm. Calvo will wear the captain's armband on Thursday morning, which features a custom Black Lives Matter patch designed by Chicago artist Dwight White.
- Przemysław Frankowski earns his 29th Fire start out wide for Wicky's side.
- Potential Fire debutantes available today off the bench include defender Nicholas Slonina, midfielders Javier Casas and Brian Gutiérrez and goalkeepers Bobby Shuttleworth and Connor Sparrow. Per the competition guidelines, the Fire will be allowed up to five substitutions.
- The remaining players available to Wicky as substitutions today are forward CJ Sapong, midfielders Brandt Bronico, Elliot Collier, and Djordje Mihailović, and defenders Miguel Angel Navarro, Wyatt Omsberg and Andre Reynolds II.
- Defenders Johan Kappelhof (quad) and Jeremiah Gutjahr (knee) and midfielders Micheal Azira (eye) and Luka Stojanović (knee) are out for Thursday's match.
Get a look at both side's starting lineups as they're available in the graphics below: